By any objective assessment, America’s adventures in regime change have not worked out as planned. From Danny Sjursen at truthdig.com via antiwar.com:
We used to call him “Mookie.” God, we hated him. Back in 2006-07, while patrolling the streets of east Baghdad, Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia was our sworn enemy. These impoverished, slum-dwelling Shiite youths hit us with sniper fire and deadly improvised explosive devices day after day. They killed and maimed American troops daily, including my boys – Alex Fuller and Mike Balsley – who died Jan. 25, 2007. We’d patch up our wounded, call in a medevac helicopter, then roll back into those city streets the very next day. As we patrolled, Sadr’s ubiquitous face would taunt us, plastered as it was on billboards, posters and flags throughout the neighborhood.
Now, in a truth stranger than fiction, Sadr’s political party has won the recent Iraqi elections. The former warlord and killer of Americans may now play kingmaker in Iraq. Of course, mine is only one – highly biased – side of the story. From Sadr’s perspective, we were occupiers, a foreign military force with no legitimacy in his country. Perhaps he had a point. Still, Sadr’s victory demonstrates just how far off the rails America’s project in Iraq has gone, and it epitomizes the unintended consequences of offensive war and regime change.
When the United States uses its impressive military machine to topple a tyrant – in this case, Saddam Hussein – it’s impossible to predict the course of the chaos that follows. Fracture a society, it seems, and the most nefarious (and well-armed) actors often rise to the top: militiamen, criminal elements, Islamists and sociopaths of various stripes. Sadr is just one example.
Still, Washington never seems to learn. Since October 2001, our military has been ordered to topple at least three sovereign governments – those of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya – and is theoretically seeking to overthrow another regime in Syria. Republican and Democratic presidents alike have ordered these ill-advised operations, demonstrating the striking bipartisanship of American militarism. Let us, then, take a tour of the tragic outcomes unfolding today in each of these victims of U.S.-imposed regime change.
To continue reading: The Tragic Record of American Regime Change